YPFP Executive and Senior Leadership
Alexia D’Arco has served as President of YPFP since December 2017. Over the past ten years her career has spanned three continents and a variety of professional roles centered around foreign policy and higher education, half of which was spent working in Japan and Germany.
From 2013-2015, Alexia worked as a Program Development Consultant for the TOMODACHI Initiative, a $34 million public-private partnership created by U.S. Embassy Tokyo and the U.S.-Japan Council that develops bilateral youth programs between the United States and Japan. She worked closely with corporate donors, NGOs, universities, and grassroots implementers to develop and implement exchange programs for over 16,000 participants age 15-35.
From 2011-2013, Alexia served on State Department political-military affairs teams at Embassy Tokyo and the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, where her portfolios included security assistance, defense cooperation, counterterrorism, and planning for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. She received a superior individual honor award and a group honor award for her contributions to the U.S. negotiating strategy to reopen the NATO supply lines in Pakistan.
While pursuing her MA, Alexia worked at The Scowcroft Group, the National War College, and as a teaching assistant for former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. She previously served as Executive Assistant to Fred Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council and as a Program Assistant at the Berlin-based think tank Atlantik-Brücke.
Alexia is a former Fulbright Scholar, Presidential Management Fellow, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation “Hiring our Heroes” Corporate Fellow. She has previously served as an Adjunct Lecturer at Temple University (Japan) and Rhodes College. Alexia is currently a Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a Senior Advisor at the Frontier Design Group, and an Adjunct at the University of Memphis.
Alexia holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University and is a graduate of Dartmouth College. She won Dartmouth’s Rintel’s Prize for outstanding undergraduate thesis of the year in the humanities for her groundbreaking research on British and American efforts to de-nazify German POWs in the United States and Britain from 1943-48.
Alexia is a California native who lives in Washington, DC with her husband Neil, an active duty Navy JAG, and their son Owen.
Bunmi Akinnusotu is a foreign policy enthusiast and experienced organizational management leader. She was a political appointee in the Obama Administration where she served as Special Assistant in the Office of Land and Emergency management at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Bunmi coordinated international affairs efforts to advance resource conservation and bring greater visibility to the social and economic benefits of reducing negative environmental impacts. She also advanced efforts that protect the civil rights of historically marginalized and disempowered populations living in or around neighborhoods that are environmentally unsafe. While at EPA, Bunmi also supported community engagement efforts in response to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Prior to her life as a public servant, Bunmi was a non-profit fundraiser for the YWCA and United Way in Chicago. Total, Bunmi facilitated solicitations and directly secured nearly $1 million for capital campaigns, program operations, and large-scale fundraising events. Bunmi has worked internationally at Search for Common Ground in Timor-Leste and taught English in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
She obtained her Master's degree in Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and also a Master's in Sociology from Illinios State University Stevenson Center for Applied Community and Economic Development. She received her Bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems from Bryant University located in her home state of Rhode Island. Bunmi is recovering collegiate volleyball player, loves anything made of red velvet and anything from Chicago, and enjoys being a newbie radio show and podcast producer of her show, What in the World? She is passionate about helping more Americans understand the connection of foreign policy to their every day lives.
Kolby Keo has volunteered with YPFP since February 2016, previously serving as Managing Director and Interim Vice President of Programs. As Senior Vice President, he leads a team of over 100 volunteers, oversees day-to-day operations, and facilitates collaboration across YPFP’s teams.
Kolby works as Assistant to the Executive Director for Special Projects & Alumni Affairs at the University of California Washington Program (UCDC). Prior to UCDC, he worked as a legislative aide in the United States House of Representatives.
From 2013-2015, Kolby served as a city commissioner of his hometown, Garden Grove, California. He is currently a Vice President of the Fellows Program Executive Board for the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) and has volunteered with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) since 2004.
Kolby received his BA in political science from the University of California, Irvine, graduating summa cum laude with the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction.
Dorena is an Atlas Corps Fellow from Albania, serving as YPFP's Executive Program Coordinator since September 2017. She is responsible for conducting financial and market research, assisting YPFP's Executive Team in maximizing volunteer effectiveness, improving the organization’s HR system, and helping with the development and implementation of organizational strategies, policies, and practices.
She has six years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including over a year with the U.S. Peace Corps office in Albania, three years as Head of Human Resources at UNIque Junior Enterprise, involvement with the European Commission's Erasmus Program, and experience organizing major conferences for UNDP, UNICEF, The World Bank, and UN Women.
Dorena earned both a Bachelor's and Master’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tirana, Albania.
Alex Penler is Vice President of Communications at YPFP. She previously served as Director of Social Media overseeing 20 YPFP social media channels with a reach of over 200,000 in 170 countries. Alex has been a member of YPFP since 2015.
Alex works as a communications officer for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program at AMIDEAST, managing the strategy and operations of the Fulbright program in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously she worked for Unicef UK and on a USAID project, AIDSFree, at John Snow, Inc.
Originally from Washington, DC and Cleveland, OH, she obtained a BA in Political Science and History from Saint Mary's-Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where she studied in Rome and at American University. She received a Master's of Science with Distinction from the London School of Economics in Colonialism and Globalization (History of International Relations). In her free time, Alex enjoys traveling, cooking/baking, and writing novels.
Harjaap Singh is the Vice President of Programs at YPFP. He oversees development and execution of YPFP's programs and events, including the annual Affairs of State Gala & Fundraiser in Washington, DC.
Harjaap is a problem-solver who is interested in Asia-Pacific geopolitics. He has a background in nonprofits, startups, and government. He previously worked at the United States Department of Agriculture. He aspires to one day study and practice international law with a focus on entertainment and technology.
He earned a BS in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University with a double major in Asian Area Studies and History. He has also studied in China and Japan, and traveled to India, South Africa, and Kosovo. In his free time, Harjaap enjoys music, dancing, fashion, learning to code, immersing in cultures, and jogging.
Georgiana Dragomir is the Executive Director of YPFP Brussels. She leads the long-term planning and strategic development of the branch while overseeing and coordinating with the Programmes, Security and Defence, Membership and Communication teams. In addition, Georgiana represents the branch within the wider Brussels community.
Young professional building her career in international organizations in Brussels, Georgiana is a strong supporter of multiculturalism, lifelong learning and of YFPF's mission to inform and strengthen the voices of young professionals across the globe. Native Romanian, she speaks English, French, Portuguese and is currently learning Arabic, proving her strong desire for lifelong learning.
Georgiana holds an MA in International Relations and an MA in Security and Defence, being an alumna of the Paris 3 Sorbonne University and the Sciences Po Strasbourg Institute.
Katie oversees internal staff management and works alongside the Executive Director in the long-term planning and strategic development of the branch. She previously served as Social Media Officer and as Deputy Director of Communications and Marketing for YPFP Brussels.
Katie is from the UK and spent nine years studying Classics at the University of Oxford (with a year at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris as an exchange student), emerging in 2013 with a doctorate on the work of the Roman historian Tacitus. She has published academic articles on Roman history and historiography and, while her interests now extend to contemporary politics, foreign policy and communications, also writes fairly regularly about potential parallels between the ancient past and the present day.
She came to Brussels in early 2015, initially to work at the European Economic and Social Committee, one of the EU's component institutions. After a spell in the private sector, she is currently Web Editor at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy. Outside work, she enjoys making the most of Brussels' many transport links to the rest of Europe, and back in the UK created and ran a successful restaurant blog for three years.
As the Executive Director of YPFP New York, Chris McCarthy sets the strategic direction for the group, ensuring it remains as vibrant, ambitious, and engaging, as it has been throughout its 10 year history in the city. It is a responsibility he is familiar with, having served in the same role for YPFP in London before moving to the U.S. in 2016.
Chris's background is in politics and public affairs having worked as Senior Adviser to a former British foreign secretary. He has supported and led projects providing additional capacity to international NGOs helping victims of conflict and sexual violence, as well as tackling the illegal international transportation of wildlife goods.
After leaving the public sector he moved into public affairs and political risk, helping clients better understand, and navigate, volatile markets and uncertain geopolitical environments. His work has reinforced to him the vital importance of YPFP's mission to amplify NextGen voices to help address many of the critical challenges in foreign affairs today.
Antony Underwood is the Executive Director of YPFP London, where he is responsible for developing and implementing the branch’s overall strategy while overseeing its Membership, Partnerships, Programming and Communications teams. He has been with YPFP London since 2013, working in a number of positions in the Communications team prior to his appointment as Executive Director in November 2016.
Antony’s career has been spent working for the UK Government in a number of roles in the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office. A native of the capital, he has a BA in History and Politics from the University of Nottingham and an MA in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics.